PENS and pencils at the ready as author Philip Pullman and Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell launch a worldwide scheme to get children drawing in Oxford this weekend.

The Big Draw festival, now in its 15th year, features 10 of the city’s leading institutions offering activities, workshops and tours to encourage creativity.

It is part of a global effort to get 400,000 people picking up a pencil or paintbrush.

Mr Pullman will join Mr Riddell at the Bodleian’s newWeston Library in Broad Street tomorrow at 11am to kick off the day-long programme.

The His Dark Materials writer said: “Drawing is such a pleasure that I want everyone to share it. The feeling of a sharp pencil moving over a piece of good paper is a delight to the hand as well as the eye.

“By far the best way to see things clearly is to draw them, and looking and drawing are a key to understanding the world in quite different ways from listening and reading.

“Literacy is vital, of course, but it would be wonderful to give everyone – adult as well as child – a chance to master picturacy as well.”

At the launch, Mr Riddell will illustrate live a story read aloud by Mr Pullman from his Grimm Tales: for Young and Old.

There will be 20 activities for all ages, including an invitation to draw in a huge visitor book in the Weston Library alongside professional illustrators, as well as drawing with a camera obscura or a tablet, making artists’ books and printing on the Bodleian’s historic wooden printing press.

Visitors can also have their portraits drawn by robots, join a campaign to save endangered birds, make 3D maps, watch a new video by artist Tamarin Norwood and design their own “Utopian library” with Adam Dant, official recorder in drawings of May’s General Election.”

A free “walk and draw trail” will also connect galleries, museums and arts organisations.

There will be 3D drawing at the Museum of the History of Science, in Broad Street, a ‘yarn-storm’ with Deadly Knitshade in Radcliffe Square, collaborative drawing at Modern Art Oxford, in Pembroke Street, and animation of a prequel to The Tempest at the Old Fire Station in George Street.

Children can also visit Pembroke Street’s Story Museum to decorate a takeaway meal, paint with arrows at the Ashmolean in Beaumont Street and investigate secret drawers at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Parks Road.